Joe Poulin and his $100 Million Travel Empire he Started at 17
Let me ask; Are you a seventeen, eighteen or nineteen year old young person searching for what you want to do with your life? Are you contemplating college, a career as an attorney or law enforcement officer or getting a job down at the local factory?
My goal with this article is to simply open your eyes to the possibilities and the lifestyle you can create during this life time, if you make the right choices and don’t get sucked into the idea that you have to work a job for the next 30 to 40 years in order to be successful.
Understand that I would never tell you to forego a college education! Many multi-million dollar companies are conceived in college. But I am saying you should not get locked into the traditional “go to college, get a good job, and work until you are 62” thinking that still permeates most of our institutions.
At the young age of 33 Joe Poulin of Montreal Canada is setting on top of a $100 Million luxury travel empire that he built from the ground up. As the founder of Luxury Retreats, Joe has built a business that is the absolute world leader in the high end luxury villa rentals.
But know this; Joe launched his business out of a bedroom in his parent’s home when he was 17 years old. So just how does this happen? How does a teenager still living with his parents launch an enterprise that grows to be worth $100 Million? Here is the story according to Joe.
How a 17 year old founded a $100 Million luxury travel empire
Probably a bit of a Brainiac, Joe Poulin started his first business at the age of 11 recycling used diskettes. But by age 13 he was building and selling computers. Joe’s father always encouraged him from a very young age to have a business. His father’s words must have sunk in because by the time he was sixteen Joe was building and designing websites for local real estate companies in the Montreal area.
It was during this time when he was approached by a customer who owned a high end luxury villa on the island of Barbados, the year was 1999. The owner asked Joe if he could build him a website for the purposes of helping him rent out his villa, as a vacation rental. The light went off in Joe’s head and at the age of 16 he hopped a plane to Barbados and began looking for other vacation rentals he could add to the first one.
It was while in Barbados that Joe envisioned a global villa rental platform. Joe did his research and due diligence and came to the conclusion that a global villa rental website business did not exist at the time. Joe launched his business with a total of 4 rental properties, still operating out of his bedroom.
Joe set out on a very ambitious plan searching the corners of the world to find high-end luxury villas to add to his portfolio. The island of St. Martin was next. Joe’s list of customers also began to grow and word of his services spread. Joe explains that his customers/guest loved the service they were providing which was the most important thing. Joe states “everyone wants to relax when they’re on vacation and have a break from the day-to-day grind, just like I do. I love to enjoy the services of a private chef and other staff like a masseuse or personal trainer. “
The Luxury Retreats business today- a Top way to make money
Today in 2015 Joe and his Luxury Retreats Empire employ a team of specialists who search the world for the most incredible and desirable homes to add to his list of rental properties. Luxury Retreats only offers the best of the best and as a result see repeat clients and customers year after year. While the company has a significant advertising budget, mostly centered on the internet, they also get many referrals by word of mouth.
Today Luxury Retreats has a portfolio of over 2800 homes in over 50 exotic regions of the world. And the hand-picked and personally inspected list of properties keeps growing daily. But Joe Poulin still has very ambitious plans to grow the company by doubling the number of properties offered and the regions where those properties are located. He is currently focusing on luxury apartment rentals in the world’s largest cities such as New York, London, Paris, Rome, Singapore, and Shanghai.
To keep his luxury travel business running smoothly and constantly growing Joe Poulin does his own bit of travel- taking flight about 140 times a year to various corners of the world, meeting with clients and inspecting new properties. The company now employs about 150 people in various offices around the world including Hawaii, Buenos Aires and St. Martin.
Joe’s goal for Luxury Retreats was to gross $100 Million in 2012 but his real goal is to reach $500 Million in gross sales.
The company routinely gets offers to sell but Joe is not interested. Joe describes himself as an “operator” and has every intention of remaining the head of Luxury Retreats. He did accept a $5 Million investment recently from a Canadian technology fund, Montreal iNovia Capital. But he was also quick to explain that his company is profitable and he did not need the cash. It was more of a strategic move to give him more visibility within the financial world and in particular the American business sector.
Customer service as a way to build a multi-million dollar business
Joe knew early on that he needed to do more than just offer luxury villa’s for vacation rentals. He knew that he needed to provide a luxury experience as well. And this starts with a dedicated and free concierge service that will take care of virtually any vacation need a client can possibly want. Clients arrive at their vacation rental with the kitchen fully stocked with items from their pre-planned shopping list. If they want a helicopter and pilot, it is there waiting. Private yoga instructors, organic chefs, live event streams, In-villa wine tasting, and the list goes on- ad infinitum.
Joe’s combination of the world’s top luxury villas and platinum level concierge services have worked to make his company the uncontested world leader in luxury villa rentals. Not bad for a company started by a 17 year old in his bedroom.
Ways to make money talking points
You are never too young or too old to start a business. As a teen or young adult you have experiences, insight and perspective, particularly when it comes to today’s technology that older entrepreneurs may not have. Likewise, older or middle age would be entrepreneurs are going to have different insight and perspectives that a younger person may not have.
Stop thinking that you do not have what it takes to start and build a million dollar business! And stop comparing yourself to other people. Look to other people for encouragement, ideas, and inspiration but don’t compare yourself to them. That is destructive thinking.
You do not have to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa in order to be successful or to become a millionaire. You just need an idea and persistence.